A Travellerspoint blog

Ireland

day 5: it's a good thing we all get on so well

in which our nine swampoodle actors plus a few more cross the hump of the week

semi-overcast 40 °F

I’ve finally fallen behind in my daily posting routine, friends. On Thursday night the entire group ventured out into Dublin for a meal and a show and a pub, and I ended up leaving my laptop in Marketa’s trunk, or “boot” in the local parlance. Time has whirred by so quickly that yesterday morning seems like last week, and from what I remember of Day 4 (as I’m composing this entry days later, I’ll admit to using a cheat-sheet), it was a day of continued creative exploration, though I finally felt the subtle tug of exhaustion beginning to creep in. But when one is creatively turned on, in love with the work and process, lack of sleep hours are quickly overcome.

[Note: I'm posting this from an internet hotspot looking out over train tracks just in front of the Irish Sea in Greystones, about an hour south of Dublin. I spent a good part of the morning writing and visiting with my lovely hosts who will make an appearance in a later entry. Please note that I have a whopper of a story to tell about something which happened after leaving the group yesterday, but first I must catch up with the previous days in chronological order. STAY TUNED, readers!]

On the way in to the estate, I snap a few daytime pics; its amazing to me how much the area transforms over a few hours by the simple act of the sun lighting the space. Our first exercise on rehearsal day 4 was in three groups of three, arranging small vignettes based on our wall-hung images, which would show a process of rehearsing bleeding into a “performance.” Also, a character should die and the audience should feel something for that character. Running with Jo’s request that we cast ourselves “against type,” I played Margaret Lane, the young daughter of the Irish Catholic family in Swampoodle, ca. 1910. In our sketch, Margaret’s father is killed in a roller derby accident at the Uline Auditorium. (It’s a good thing we’re so focused on process now, rather than on final results!) In another piece, Chris plays the dancer Rudolf Nureyev (who once danced in the Uline) leaping to his death.

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We continue with another three groups of three; each group must find an excuse to make use of either a roller derby, a bulldozer, or a marching band. I’m in the marching band group, and we travel from a math classroom (“76 Trombones!”), an airplane ("McNamara's Band"), featuring Adrienne’s sendup of the haughty stewardess who snarled at Chris on the flight from JFK (we have taken to calling her “Nanny McPhee”), and a doctor’s office, where Stacy receives a bit of bad news (“When the Saints Go Marching In.”) The second group stages us in the center of the room, facing outward while they whirl around us like a roller derby, then morph into screaming as if we were the Beatles onstage at the Uline. (Have I mentioned that that Beatles gave their first American performance in the very space where we’re performing our piece? Well it’s worth saying again!) The third group starts with Karl’s unsuccessful proposal to Stephanie at a restaurant, which gets interrupted by… Rachel driving a bulldozer! Karl and Steph become Swampoodle artistes angrily defending their right to use the space to make “art,” while the bulldozer operator (much like our roofer friends the previous day) mocks them. Rachel the bulldozer driver then becomes a dancer. You see where all of this is going, yes?

After a quick lunch, we’re taken on a tour of the estate by a friendly employee who knows lots about the history of Castletown House and has many stories to share along the way. I had no idea about the opulence which laid underneath our rehearsal rooms, but its all pretty magnificent. We’re asked to not take photographs in one special room which contains fine imported drawings framed on the walls with a mixture of flour, water, and arsenic, which kills all bacteria, an 18th century glue which sticks to this day. Our guide tells us its one of the finest rooms for this style in all of Europe. There’s also a rare statue of George Washington's head currently held in a storage box, and a fun story about the cracks in the mirror and fireplace in the lavish dining room coming from a battle between the local priest having thrown a Bible at the devil, whose cloven feet had been revealed while cheating at a card game. So apparently there’s precedent for the free-range storytelling we’re carrying on a few floors above?

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Next we’re introduced to Niamh, our costume designer, and Ciaran, our lighting designer, who are swiftly integrated into our madness as we're split into two new groups and given some text from Tom. The first group tries on a selection from Niamh’s colorful costume pieces while sitting around a table, and their text focuses on “I want to be remembered for…” Our text is concerned with history, and realizing the history of a place and its connection to the present moment in that place, presented as a list of “History is…” For staging, I suggest the outside courtyard adjacent to the side entrance we’ve been using to enter the estate; it’s diagonally shaped and rife with interesting playing spaces. We have Ciaran lead the “audience” into the center of the area, and one by one the actors pop up at different places, reading individual sections of Tom’s text.

The final exercise is focused on sound, and we’re put in two groups and given more text. The first group puts us in the architecturally fascinating brick room in the center, which was remodeled to serve as a stabilizer for the entire estate. The group is spread around us, the lights are turned off, and soft whispering and breathing g on all around us, which lead into Rachel leading the others in a gorgeous, simple, original folk melody (inspired by “Oh Brother, Where Art Thou?,” she later claimed)… “See the women working… still, still… smell the bread baking… still, still… hear the children playing… still, still…” It’s a wonderful, magical moment to hear that sound and I close my eyes and try to stretch my awareness of the present moment, just as I had when I crossed the dark field the other night. Our group, staged in a dimly lit, 18th century-feeling side room, starts with me singing some faux Sean nos, following a minor pentatonic pattern (I resolve to learn this style!), followed by the sound of brushing paper on the wooden floor (“the rushing of Tiber Creek below”) and a crescendo building to the improvised end.

We end the day with a grueling attempt to piece together a coherent rehearsal schedule for when we meet back in DC starting mid-April. That evening, the group heads out for a fine meal at Wolfe's Irish Artisan Bistro in Dublin, which we order and finish in record time in order to make the curtain at the Project Arts Centre, where a group called Forced Entertainment is performing a new work called Void Story. The piece is constructed as a staged radio play of sorts, with still images reminiscent of a comic-book projected in the center. Though the four actors do a fine job reading their scripts on side tables, personally, the piece isn’t my favorite and my exhaustion is getting the better of me.

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After the show, we walk over to a pub which seems to have hundreds of Guinness signs hung in different ways, and its nice to have a pint of the black magic while the group unwinds for a bit.

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We stay for two drinks, sing birthday wishes for MJ (what are the chances that out of 9 actors, 2 of them have birthdays during our rehearsal week?), and head back to Celbridge. On the way, Jo and Tom invite our carload (Steph, MJ and myself) into their home not far from Castletown for a quick swig of fine whiskey, the gift of a birthday cigar for MJ, and a bit of fun with their three wonderful dogs. Jo drops us off at the Langley Lodge and MJ enjoys his birthday cigar smoke outside. It's overall a nicely rounded, not-too-crazy night; after all there’s one day left and no one wants to be the only one to show up “under the weather” for our final rehearsal day!

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Posted by coolmcjazz 06:07 Archived in Ireland Tagged theater kildare Comments (0)

day 4: create... you do it!

in which the swampoodle actors are awesome

semi-overcast 40 °F

We’ve reached the midway point of our week-long process, and morning has flown into afternoon into evening into the next morning in a gigantic blur. I thought today was an outstanding day in terms of creative work, and the group’s chemistry and trust is coalescing into a rare energy. We’ve all been in lots of shows, but for many of us (myself included) this is the first time we’ve been entrusted with conjuring up the raw material for a theater piece.

After our ritualized physical warmup – those plank positions kill me, folks – Jo tells us that “today is Uline day!” and we separate into groups of three, each of which is given a photograph and a page of text from Tom. Working alongside Adrienne and Stephanie, my group’s photograph is an industrial wasteland, possibly taken from a modern art exhibit, cluttered with broken clocks and computers, and our text is a circus-like incantation recalling a few quirky events from the history of the Uline Auditorium. Again, we can use anywhere on the estate to stage this. We take the lift to the elevator and on our way out notice that just at the spot where a hallway corner turns right, some windows look out on the main entrance. We’ve found our viewing area, and we stage the audience in the hallway while we three performers are outside. We all come up with some ritualized, mechanical motions for the text, and during the imagining process I shoot three videos: two on my camera and one on cell phone. The first piece, which was to represent a ballet studio, used Rachel’s dance training in a room neatly organized into rows with chairs, which Jo compares to the Philip Glass/Robert Wilson set for Einstein on the Beach. The second piece began with Karl leading us through a dark room, under a table covered with a large sheet of paper, and at each “stop” he played a recording of a spooky, disembodied voice reading the text, off of his iPhone (i.e. “this is where John Lennon strummed the first chord to ‘I Want to Hold Your Hand’). We’re led through the room, under a table and into another room, with stops along the way and I feel like a kid being led through a haunted house. (Who’s going to jump out at us behind a corner?) We get to the final room, and there is Clare standing on a ladder, pirouetting an umbrella in front of a table on which old books pulled from the walls are left open.

Before we performed, I rushed outside, placed the cell phone (with video loaded) on the window ledge, hung the camera (with its playscreen facing the hallway) on one of the iron window crossbars, and after loading the third video onto my laptop, balanced the laptop vertically on top of the bench next to where I entered the sightline. All three videos played as we mechanically intoned the text and followed our ritualized, repetitive movements, and we sensed the cold removal from our audience beyond the window in the hallway as part of the aesthetic.

After lunch, Jo tells us Tom will see us one by one in the side room in order to record us giving accounts of our daily routines. I’m asked about what my typical day after 5pm looks like. While waiting, we’re to pick out an image from art books which they’ve laid out on the floor. I find my image instantly (its Angelina Jolie, her mouth turned up in an expression of joy and ecstasy), and since I’m done with that I take to gazing out the window at the enormous field in front of the estate. When the recording is done, we’re arranged in a V formation and told we’re panelists on a TV show “in the year 3000” and proceed into a group improvisation in which we’re played our own voices back, and we analyze what the voices are saying from an anthropological perspective. We’re all over the place, but if one fact is established it is that Chris needs to clean his pod.

We’re put in groups of three again and tasked with creating a piece using our images, I’m with Chris, who has found an image of a sculpture of a deserted city which is being fed crude oil, and Clare, whose “land art” image reveals a snaky pattern of bushes laid over a grassy field. Given my previous experience at the window, the staging of the piece seems obvious to me; I take the group to the window and we plot out where we would trace the Clare’e squiggly pattern in the field outside. As we stage the audience at the three windows of our rehearsal room, we imagine two pillars on either side (Clare and Chris) representing the stark oil city, while I would be in between the two dancing and singing “I Want to Hold Your Hand.” (The relevance, of course, is that the Beatles first US appearance was given in the very building where our show will take place.) I have Tom sync up the song on the speaker, and luckily, I have the song on my iPhone. From behind a bush outside, I give the signal and starts the music in the room as I start it on my phone, and start dancing and singing with ecstasy amidst the two pillar people, all of us tracing the squiggle. (Though as I shake it my iPhone leaps to the next song and I keep having to re-find my place in the song; though I don’t imagine they could tell this from inside.) At one point some roofers from the adjacent building stop what they’re doing and shout “Shut up, ya f---in eejit!” though I couldn’t hear this – I was having too much fun! A few workers at the side door congratulate us for our singing as we reenter, and I apologize for singing a British song in Ireland. When we get back upstairs, Rachel says, “I felt like a little kid screaming with joy at the window!” Obviously I can’t speak about the process of the other two groups, but the end results, including a morphing images set to random bits of music once heard in the Uline, as well as a shuffling trio of emotion-shifting huffalump creatures set to Tchaikovsky's "Nutcracker." What outrageous fun we’re all having doing this work.

We end the day and I get a lift back to the hut for some pizza and Irish cheese around the kitchen with MJ. I make the long trek over the field through the mud over to the “Round House” for wine and craic and loadsa photo taking. I bring over the nice bottle of Bordeaux. Our lovely and helpful friend Collette should take credit for many of the very good photos which came out of last night!

PS - Gotta run as we're all heading to dinner and a play in Dublin... will post photos from yesterday tomorrow! Cheers, all.

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Posted by coolmcjazz 09:47 Archived in Ireland Tagged theater kildare Comments (0)

day 3: stretching out our process

in which the Swampoodle actors prove their mettle on the imagination gridiron

overcast 40 °F

I write having made a long and unforgettable walk via the “short path” from Celbridge town to the Langley House. I’ve never experienced anything like that in my life. Acres upon acres of open land around me, light misting and the wind whipping through a night sky just bright enough for me to make my way over the curving, muddy and puddled path. (Swampoodle rehearsal, indeed!) Stopping every few moments to capture a new shot; the black silhouetted framing of the skeletal winter trees reaching toward the sky cutting through the dim light peeking over from the town. Each photograph requires I hold still as possible through the mud and wind for a good 4 seconds, and my camera catches the dull pinkish-gray light as orange. I’m not sure I’ve never felt so solitary on the earth’s vastness.

It’s hard to believe I’m already past Day 3 of the trip. Like the wind outside my stone hut, time is whipping by and it seems our 6pm rehearsal end time arrives approximately one hour after our 10am beginning. I arrived early and we picked up straight-away with our physical warm-ups from the previous day, including yoga poses, deep self-massaging ("find the poison points!"), and balance exercises, and today we added some vocal warmups led by Rachel.

What activities will they have in store for us today? Our first task is to assemble in groups of three and create staging for pages of text given to us by Tom. Sitting for a quick table-read with my partners Rachel and Chris, the language is already funny and cheeky and I’m loving the fact that though obviously there will be serious parts, we’re all getting the sense this show is going to be irreverent and entertaining. Since we’re allowed to use any location on the estate, we head outside and after a search, end up staging our text on the staircase of the main entrance to the estate. Our key word is “imagine” and we play with the idea of using the vast physical space in front of us, rushing from the field in three directions toward the “audience,” which we place on the top of the estate entryway. Given the lavish surroundings, the line “this once was a rundown parking lot” is a nice opposite. Our piece reminded me very much of assembling similar text-based pieces in Joy Zinoman’s Greek class years a few back. We start to build creative momentum, but only have a short time to finish our project in. The other two groups are funny and well-structured; one makes thrilling use of its location in a ladies room and the other deftly employs slapstick.

We continue with a group improvisation, exploring our own visions of what this piece might mean on an individual basis, then devolving into an all-out physical war between factions of the cast. (All in good fun, of course.) It’s cool to know that even if our impulses only generate a tiny portion of what eventually ends up in the piece, that it’s still our process this week which will help to set the tone; MJ would later refer to this as “spaghetti work” – throwing things up on the wall to see what sticks. (I should also state I’m learning a great deal about process-driven theater, which I hope will inform the OMG project we’re currently developing in DC!)

Next we’re given a video camera and split into groups to create short films which explore historical elements of the Swampoodle and the Uline Auditorium. Our piece centers on overcrowding; the other group creates a striking piece telling the story of anonymous census names through closeups of bare feet walking slowly by the camera. We then split off into other groups – a common question today was “who haven’t I worked with yet?” – and told to choose a photo for which we are to “recreate” a story of the moment preceding. Both groups pick domestic scenes ca. around 1910; the first group uses hilarious, Chaplinesque movement and finds some Duke Ellington to accompany, while our group “plays ourselves” before freezing in place uncomfortably for a good 90 seconds. (Long shutter speeds in those days, folks.) We end the day with music; two new groups are assigned texts (both giving poetic directions for areas of the Swampoodle, ca. the 1850s) for which we must compose and coordinate music. The first group lines up and bursts forth a tight, jig-like melody which ends up in a spritely round. When our group goes up, I make my debut in the Sean nos style of singing (or at least some version of it), improvising a melody in the flavor of the great singersI’ve been schooling myself on (it’s harder than it sounds!) and joined halfway through with a pub-style melody we came upon in the mere 10 minutes we had to assemble the piece. Have I mentioned how great it is to work alongside such talented, focused, and giving artists?

At the end of the day I catch a ride back to the stone hut, shower and change, and eventually head back out, making the 2+ mile walk “the long way” to get to Celbridge where pints are to be had at The Mucky Duck, our first gathering in the town. On the way I stop to take some shots of a rugby team practicing on a "pitch" close to our hut – dozens of fierce competitors yelling "lemon! lemon! lemon!" I assume in an attempt to get a pass? On the main road I listen to Luke Kelly sing “Raglan Road” and try to get the words down, and the walk in the chilly rain feels longer than expected.

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Pints are lovely with Adrienne, Stacy, Rachel, Chris, and Steph, and my plate of curry and chips hits the spot. It’s nice to unwind in the pub, though the place is overheated and mostly empty and we’re easily distracted by the Euro-trashy (etc.) videos playing on the big screen. We all depart after two hours or so, and I begin my long, incredible trek back to this place where I write from right now. I said to someone today that it feels funny to write and reflect on something while you’re still very much in it – I’m glad that I’m doing this daily writing of a rehearsal process but it’s not something I’ve ever tried in the past. Anyway, hope readers are enjoying and keep checking in!

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Posted by coolmcjazz 04:52 Archived in Ireland Tagged theater kildare Comments (0)

day 2: rehearsal begins!

where the actors bring Swampoodle stories to Irish soil

semi-overcast 40 °F

I knew I’d be overestimating the likelihood of my waking up early enough to run after jetlag and a 5-hour nap, so I forsook my planned run with MJ this morning and slept until an hour prior to our call time of 10am, which I’m still ever-so-slightly “feeling” as 5am. (Come March, this marathon idea may or may not happen.) After a Tesco-sponsored breakfast, MJ and I venture out to the rehearsal space, and quickly realize that a) this is longer than the 15 minutes we were expecting the walk to take and b) it is really muddy out here.

We get to the enormous Castleton House and a security guard takes us on our way. The group has just started physical warmups led by Jo and it’s really ice to have our first significant work be focused on physical awareness. After 30 minutes of stretching and kneading, we individually answer questions Jo has dreamed up for us: what do we love in theater, what do we hate, what frustrates us, what have we always wanted to do but haven’t ever been asked to do, etc., then we read our responses in a sort of free rambling monologue. Apart from the two new faces, the Irish actors Karl and Clare, most of the American actors know each other already, at least tangentially. Still, the responses help to set our knowledge of each other’s energy; it’s all positive and open, and one person makes a comment along the lines of “this energy that is in this room right now, is the energy that I want to carry with me in performance.”

Continuing on with work like this, we take lunch - without sandwich bags, my peanut butter and jelly sandwiches congeal in a giant lump in my 20 cent plastic Tesco bag - and the latter half of the day begins with dramaturgical exercises: dozens of newspaper articles, research pieces, and photographs on the Swampoodle area, stretching from its beginnings in the Irish famine of the 1850s are set before us, and we are instructed to select pieces which resonate, stick them up on the walls with gum tack, and explain what we liked about them. Everyone finds individually relevant and compelling stories, many of which are funny; the arcane newspaper writing style uses gratuitous quotation marks (the culprits give the cops “da bluff!”) and the characters are colorful. There are lists and lists of names representing lives and stories, the specific details of which we can only imagine. Many of the newspaper stories highlight the lawlessness, violence and widespread chaos of the neighborhood and time period, but I choose a simple daily journal by a mother, ca. 1911, recounting relatively ordinary events like the a first Communion and the opening of a store. There’s a photograph of this family, decked out in Sunday finery, and as I point to the characters I tell of a strongly felt kinship with my own ancestors of this period, who I know only from blank census records and indistinct expressions in dim, distant photographs.

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We continue on with improvisations, tasked with creating a collective piece made under specific character instructions, and although I find it difficult at times, a few compelling moments spring forth. This is a uniformly solid and talented group of artists, and it’s so refreshing to be back at square one in a rehearsal room, where anything seems possible for the future of this piece. It’s clear that though thorough research has been undertaken, the production team is just as open to finding out what the specific nature our Swampoodle will take. Next, we’re placed into smaller groups and work out mostly abstract renderings of some of the stories from the clippings, and its fun to see the radically different ways groups interpret them, especially given specific “styles” – ours was “ice hockey” – a reference to the Uline Auditorium (aka Washington Coliseum, where we will perform the piece in May. (See the shots I took outside it last Saturday night on in my Swampoodle pool on Flickr.) We conclude with easy readings of other stories from the texts, and we’re all playing with acting while music, microphone sound effects, and a standing lamp, are toyed with – all is a bit trippy and loads of fun at the end of the first rehearsal day.

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After posting my Day 1 entry, I initially have some difficulty finding my way out of the giant estate, but am eventually helped by a friendly security guard. I walk in the direction of the small lodges where the cast has gathered for food and revelry, and on the long walk I take a number of photos of the vast grounds falling under a light, refreshing evening mist. Though it’s dark, my camera is able to pick up quite a lot of the light and the sky looks just as orange in the shots as it did in real life. Everything here – indoors, outdoors – smells earthy, especially at night, and it’s usually having to do with burning peat or burning wood.

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At the small lodge, the cast bonds further over food and wine and a calming fire, and we seem to all be aware that experiences in the theater aren’t always this interesting or special. I insist on dissolving Rachel’s modesty by playing her Deep River album off my iPhone, and we all talk on sofas and comfy chairs. It’s the end of a satisfying and productive first day, and our process is off to a thrilling start.

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Posted by coolmcjazz 06:55 Archived in Ireland Tagged theater kildare Comments (0)

day 1: back on the blog - a return to mother ireland!

rain 34 °F

Hello again, friends! I write from halfway (thirdway?) across the world, having skipped the pond and plunked down in familiar, lovely Ireland, one half of my two ancestral mother nations. Some of you may remember that while I traveled solo for two weeks in Europe last summer, I kept this journal and found it a terrific way to “live things twice,” and now that I’ve returned to Europe far sooner than I would have anticipated (yay!), I figured why not dust off the website and share more experiences again. Also, I may try to get some double-use by cross-posting on the Solas Nua and Performance Corporation blogs (where I see I've already been beaten to the game!) As I write, images from last summer’s trip randomly swap around on my desktop; I love how photography allows for experiences “in the now” to fast forward to later reflection and rest assured I will take lots of photos again, and rather than upload all of them onto this site, will post anything worth seeing onto my Flickr account.

This trip presents to me a different sort of adventure from last summer – I’m here on the bidding of Solas Nua and Dublin’s Performance Corporation, involved in a week of rehearsals in support of the Swampoodle project, to be performed in DC next May. We’re rehearsing here in Castletown House, a gorgeous, sprawling, early 18th-century country estate, starting tomorrow morning (Monday) through Friday, then I have another week of travels in Ireland and southern France, culminating in my first trip to Spain before flying out from Barcelona on the 22nd.

Having just returned from a great feast, lying now in this gothic stone castle, and listening to, appropriately enough, medieval Irish plainchant, I find myself already trying to slow down the passage of time, what with experiences and places whizzing by this jetlagged traveler. After a mere 3 hours of sleep (anticipatory angst?) and an hour with friends on the frozen gridiron of the National Mall, I scrambled out of Silver Spring to catch the shuttle to Dulles, running into fellow cast member Stacy on the train platform, though oddly enough she was headed to catch her flight from National. Arrived at Dulles, began some initial hijinks with cast members Adrienne and Michael John (henceforth referred to as MJ, same as my mother? hi mom!)...

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...then finally met the rest of the terrific cast at JFK where we all boarded an already hour-long delayed flight, which itself sat for 2.5 hours for de-icing before leaping the Atlantic. On board, I found it difficult to sleep, but watched the entirety of an incredibly sad, gorgeous movie about the Irish Troubles in the 1920s.

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We’re picked up at the Dublin airport by Marketa, who we had only known via email as our Performance Corporation contact, doing a wonderful job planning our often complex travel logistics. As we’re leaving the airport I recognize where I am and have few wistful thoughts of my last trip here in the summer of 2008. We’re put in a van and make the 30 drive out to Celbridge, County Kildare, southwest of Dublin, and upon arriving we meet Jo and Tom, our Performance Corporation hosts and project masterminds. I had worked with both of them briefly when they came over during the DC Snowpocalypse, on a Solas Nua/Performance Corporation flashmob in front of the White House last Valentine’s Day, and it’s nice to reconnect. Jo gives us a tour of our three lodging sites: the Gate House, the Round House, and, the Batty Langley House, the recently renovated, two floor “mini-castle” which I’m sharing with MJ, which due to its whimsical flair was accurately introduced to us as “the fairy house.” Though our hut is about 15-20 minute walk from the rest of our people, it’s nice to be in a place with such a palpable sense of history. The sharp, woodsy smell of burning peat hangs thick in the air around the town. The windows in my room are circular with ornate medieval cross-stitching. Our castle walls are hard, cold Irish stone, and I feel surrounded by the presence of hundreds of years of days and nights spent between these walls. I fall asleep that night imagining what the exact number is.

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Jo and Tom bring MJ and I out to Tesco (local supermarket where I find out plastic bags cost 20 cents a piece here!), we settle in for a quick lunch and I conk out for a 5-hour catch up nap; certainly not recommended for curing jetlag, but my body doesn’t give much choice in the matter. At 8:00 we’re to be picked up for a group meal. Waking up in pitch darkness, I have no idea where I am, imagining it’s the middle of the night and I’ve missed the chance to eat with my friends. Thankfully, it’s only 7:30 and Marketa and her friend Tom pick us up and head out to nearby town Leixlip for a satisfying meal at Donatello's, a comfortable Italian restaurant where we settle in for wine and a few courses, including birthday wishes for Stacy. It’s the first time the full group has sat and relaxed together and the chemistry is instant and relaxed; there’s a buzz of excitement in the air that the lot of us will be creating something together which doesn’t yet exist, outside of a general idea that we’re making a theater piece about the first group of Irish settlers to migrate to Washington, DC during the famine, a concept whose specifics we still know very little about. In the car earlier, I jokingly asked Tom if he was going to be up all night writing a play for us and responded “no, that’s what you’ll be writing tomorrow!” Yikes. Anyway, the morning brings our first day of creative work so it's lights out for me. I couldn’t be more excited for this trip and hope I can tell a few good stories on the way!

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Posted by coolmcjazz 09:29 Archived in Ireland Tagged theater kildare Comments (0)

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